GRATITUDE: The Grace Of Disorder

The Grace Of Disorder by Julia Marks

I feel like I am traveling back in time these days, back to my childhood, when the majority of my visions were focused on the learning that all around me was God.

Is this you?  And this?

It was like making my brain into a pretzel, then straightening it all out, then twisting it up again, as the levels of understanding increased.

No matter where I turn, it is always You.

So I found myself the other day, while listening to a woman seeking healing, having a lively “conversation” with God.

No! he screams.  This is a gift I’ve given her.  It is not to be healed.

Only you, I think.

So I continued to listen, confident I would find God in there somewhere.  Somewhere where no-one else would look and find.  Because we care about ourselves in such intensely different ways than does God.

And it finally came out.  Ever since this woman was a child, she hated being touched.  Even by her family.  Even by her doctor.

So now she has a physical condition that requires people touch her for relief.

God’s touch.  God’s love.  It got through her reluctance, her abhorrence.

It got through.

We stub our toes and curse at the missed step.

And now I wonder about our stubbed toes, our pulling back from others and things.  Our abhorrences.

I listen to another woman talk about her anger.  Her anger that controlled her as a child.  And now as a woman.  And I wonder about that anger.

Is it a wall that God has put there in order to create an echo of her grief?  A grief she is too angry to pay attention to?

I wonder.

Where has God gotten through in this situation?  

We spend our lives attempting to straighten our disorder.  A continuous process of trying to neaten everything, to clean every corner, to resolve all our sorrows.

I wonder what would happen if we put the name of each thing we hate in our lives onto a piece of paper, then put them all in a hat, and, as we take them out one at a time, say, Thank you, God, for (fill in blank here).

I imagine we would get choked up before long and the process would have to stop.

But we should just put the slips back in the hat and repeat the process after a bit of time has gone by.

Myself, I don’t understand what it is to be emotionally weak.  Predictable emotions in reactions to life’s pitfalls and bounties, sure.  But I find myself swimming in a veritable ocean of emotion that is not “natural” to me.

At least, I don’t recognize it.

So, mostly, I go, This isn’t me.  I don’t feel this way.  I don’t have these kinds of thoughts.

I understand a great deal about myself.  Or at least, I’ve managed to define a great deal of me.

I’m this.  I’m not that.

It is a very painful process, living.  Tagging this and that about me that is so shockingly and strikingly different from so many others in the world.

But now I am under two commands:

  1. To be in community.
  2. To be myself in the world.

The first is easy.  Settling down after years of chaos and flitting about here and there, I opened a door and there community was.  And here.  And there.

But being myself in the world, now there’s a kettle of brightly colored dragons, wasps, and pitcher plants.

I think the only way that I can vocalize my reaction to it is, AWK.

Or something along those lines.

I keep imaging myself in the middle of a Road Runner cartoon, only I’m slower, less clever.  And the anvil always lands on me.  Perhaps that just makes me the coyote.

Except I don’t think I’m even that smart and capable.

Somehow that bridge between my God-centeredness and the world just feels too shaky and unsafe to traverse.  Reluctance has become my middle name.

Gone, at least for now, are the days of singing confidence and striding anticipation.

As many times as I have wanted to crawl under the bed and pull the covers down to hide me, I always knew that it was just an emotional breathing space and that I would come out joyous and bouncing.

Now, not so much.

Now I just wonder at what is happening to me.

I think I will take a piece of paper, write on it the words, What Is Going On, and put it in the hat, to be taken out in a chorus of thanksgiving.

Of course, no-one would be the wiser if the hat went missing.

Well, there’s always confession.

Is that you God?  Is this your gift to me?  Help me to understand.  Please.

Amen.

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